Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 12th December 2009 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 13 December 2009 16:06

The Vigil began well with an enthusiastic supporter reporting that MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti had criticised President, Head of State and Government, Commander-in-Chief of Defence Forces, Terror of Mankind Robert Mugabe. Our supporter said he had woken up to an early morning news report on BBC radio about the Zanu-PF Congress. It was followed by an interview with Biti, who apparently spoke about Mugabe ‘sulking and adopting a wait and see attitude’. Of course, in his dozy state our supporter had misheard. It turns out that Biti was being interviewed while on a visit to Manchester (yes, England!) and was criticising the West and not Mugabe.   

Silly mistake. We should have known at once how unlikely it was that Biti would criticise Mugabe – despite Mugabe’s characteristic hate speech against Britain at the party congress, this time with his own mocking rendition of ‘Rule Britannia’. (The man must have practised and deserves a spot at the last night of the Proms.)  

What is Biti on about? He appears to say the West is sulking when it is pouring in humanitarian aid. Is he the mouthpiece of Mugabe, expecting Britain to accept these insults and lift targeted sanctions when Biti’s own party says only 12% of the reforms agreed in the GPA have been implemented.  

All of us at the Vigil recognised the truth of the latest report by one of the MDC stalwarts, Eddie Cross, in which he said ‘Attempts to reform the media and allow new broadcasting and TV channels have been met with total resistance even though they agreed to the reforms in the GPA. Only 12 per cent of the reforms negotiated over two years under the facilitation of SADC have been implemented in 9 months of political squabbling. No progress on democratic conditions for elections, no progress on the rule of law, freedom of assembly and association, no progress on the enforcement of contract law and respect for property rights, no progress on media reform.’ 

The Vigil was amused that Biti popped up in Britain only weeks after complaining about the millions of dollars being spent on official jaunts by the Zim ruling class. This would have to change, he said, while booking himself a ticket to Manchester for an obscure university meeting. Did Biti really have to be there when there are delicate negotiations going on at home on the future of the country?  

The Vigil expects that Biti along with all the other movers and shakers in Zimbabwe will move on to Copenhagen for the climate do.  Last word is that Mugabe is taking about 60 and Tsvangirai 20.  We are disturbed at this disparity and demand that Tsvangirai should be allowed to take another 40 people at least. He could take the entire staff of the Zimbabwean Meteorological Office. They recently confessed that foreign airlines could not safely overfly Zimbabwe because Zimbabwe could never tell them the weather conditions.  

PS For all these ‘movers and shakers’, the best place for shopping is in downtown Copenhagen where there are many small side streets off the main pedestrian thoroughfare. As for clubs the best are Rust, Guldbergsgade 8 and Vega, Enghavevej 40. They can get 10% off designer clothes or champagne dinners if they mention the word ‘Vigil’. 

Despite the cold people didn’t disperse until long after our scheduled close. The strongest message was ‘To save Zimbabwe, Mugabe must go’. 

Other points:
·           A group from an organisation ‘Communities Point’ joined us all the way from Yorkshire.
·           Highlight of the season so far was SW Radio Africa’s Christmas Card. Their email entitled ‘SWRA wishes to refute the scurrilous allegations that we are a pirate radio station’ showed a photo of the whole staff dressed up as pirates. Check on our photo website:
·           Hats off to one intrepid supporter from Cardiff, Wales. Mesline Ndebele, got up at 5 to catch the coach to London. She first visited her seriously ill sister in hospital in London then came on to the Vigil. She told us she would not get home till 1 am.
·           Many of the Vigil management team were away today through illness and previous commitments. Thanks to Jonathan Kariwoh, Godfrey Madzunga, Josephine Zhuga and Caroline Witts who stepped in to manage the two Vigil tables today. 

For latest Vigil pictures check: 

FOR THE RECORD:  199 signed the register. 

·           Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).
·           Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For information: or contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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